FA County Youth Final

Sussex sunk by Liverpool in County Final

Sussex manager Paul Atkinson admitted the occasion may have affected his side as visiting Liverpool claimed the FA County Youth Cup at Crawley on...

Having beaten last year's winners Cheshire and runners up Middlesex en route to the final, Sussex were bidding for their first victory in the competition since the 1950s but Liverpool proved too strong as first half goals from John McGrath and Usen Jones earned the Merseysiders the trophy.

Dejected Sussex manager Atkinson said:

“We didn't play as we know we can and the game plan that we used in previous rounds didn't come off for us, they were beatable but we weren't at our best.

“They were well organised and physical and are a good side, we had a goal disallowed which was marginal but it just wasn't our day.

“The preparation and everything else was right but we didn't do ourselves justice and I can only think that the occasion affected us.

“They took their chances and were clinical, if we had got back to 2-1 I do think we then would've forced extra-time but all the lads are devastated and I'd be disappointed if they weren't feeling like that.”

As expected for a match of its magnitude, the opening exchanges were largely tentative with Sussex marginally on top. Good wing work from Tom Summerfield and Charlie Coppola saw the latter square for Toby House but the ball stuck under the feet of the Lancing striker and the chance had gone.

That was an early indication that it was not to be Sussex's day and that was further encapsulated when the visitors took the lead with their first attack four minutes later.

Jordan Wynne's corner picked out Jones whom fired in a 20-yard finish with the aid of a deflection and leave the hosts already facing an uphill struggle.

Ollie Gill's header from a Sam Beard free-kick was chalked out for offside, whilst Declan Daniels and McGrath both went close from distance at the other end.

Sussex captain Matt Hards flashed an effort narrowly wide but the visitors extended their lead eight minutes shy of the interval.

It was a goal in keeping with the occasion, too, as McGrath picked the ball up down the right, rode four Sussex challenges and clipped the ball over advancing keeper Dan Rose.

Beard cleared off the line from Daniels to prevent a third and just about keep his side in the contest,

Substitute Ben Glover went close on the counter-attack whilst Callum Mulby saved well from Coppola at the other end as Sussex battled in vain for a way back into the match.

Despite a few half chances to set up a frantic finish, a fight back was not forthcoming and Sussex were forced to settle for runners-up.

(Photographs from the match can be found on Facebook)

Stats (Sussex-Liverpool): Goals (0-2), Shots (9-12), On Target (2-6), Fouls (8-7), Corners (7-7), Offsides (4-3), Bookings (1-0)

Sussex 0-2 Liverpool (Jones 22, McGrath 38)

Sussex: Rose; Summerfield, Watson, Johnson, Beard; Copolla, Gill, Lovatt, Bachelor; Hards; House. Subs: Ramsey (Bachelor 63), Colbran (Lovatt 77), Caplin, Deacon, Secka

Liverpool: Mulby; Hodkinson, Stephens, Gallagher, Clark; McGrath, Jones, Howells, Beigan; Wynne, Daniels. Subs: Glover (McGrath 55), Walsh (Beigan 85), Lowe (Wynne 90), Grimshaw, Osiefa.

Match report by Jamie Spoor
Photographs courtesy of Simon Roe

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